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The Wiley-Blackwell History of Jews and Judaism

ISBN: 978-1-118-23293-4
712 pages
March 2012, Wiley-Blackwell
The Wiley-Blackwell History of Jews and Judaism (1118232933) cover image


In The Wiley-Blackwell History of Jews and Judaism, a team of internationally-renowned scholars offer a comprehensive and authoritative overview of Jewish life and culture, from the biblical period to contemporary times.
  • Provides a comprehensive and authoritative overview of the main periods and themes of Jewish history, from Biblical Israel, through medieval and early modern periods, to Judaism since the Holocaust, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and Judaism today
  • Brings together an international team of established and emerging scholars across a range of disciplines
  • Discusses how to present Judaism - to both non-Jews and Jews - as a religious system on its own terms and with its own unique vocabulary
  • Explores the latest scholarship on a range of issues, including folk practices, politics, economic structure, the relationship of Judaism to Christianity, and the nature of Zionism diaspora and its implications for contemporary Israel
  • Considers Jewish historiography and the lives of ordinary people, the achievements of Jewish women, and the sustained interaction of Jews within the environments they inhabited
  • Edited by a leading scholar in Jewish studies and history
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Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors ix

Preface xvii

Acknowledgments xix

Introduction 1

Part I Ancient Israel 13

1 What Is the Hebrew Bible? 15
Frederick E. Greenspahn

2 How “Historical” Is Ancient Israel? 25
Ehud Ben Zvi

3 Priests and Levites in the Hebrew Bible 35
Stephen A. Geller

4 How Unique Was Israelite Prophecy? 53
Jonathan St€okl

5 Judaism after the Exile: The Later Books of the Bible 70
Daniel C. Snell

6 Translation: The Biblical Legacy to Judaism 83
Leonard Greenspoon

Part II From Ancient Israel to Rabbinic Jewry 99

7 Jews in the Land During the Second Temple Period 101
Steven Werlin

8 Jews in Egypt: The Special Case of the Septuagint 121
Peg Kershenbaum

9 Early Christianity in a Jewish Context 142
Julie Galambush

10 The Babylonian Consolidation of Rabbinic Judaism 156
Shai Secunda

Part III The Medieval World: Jews in Two Cultures 167

11 Jews in Christian Europe: Ashkenaz in the Middle Ages 169
Eva Haverkamp

12 The Jews in the Medieval Arabic-Speaking World 207
Norman (Noam) Stillman

13 Turning Point: The Spanish Expulsion 224
Jane S. Gerber

14 Medieval Jewish Mysticism 244
Hartley Lachter

Part IV The Early Modern Period (Sixteenth–Eighteenth Centuries) 257

15 Judaism and Science in the Age of Discovery 259
Joseph M. Davis

16 A History of Hasidism: Origins and Developments 277
Gadi Sagiv

17 Jews and Judaism in the Early Modern New World: Central and North America 291
Dean Phillip Bell

18 The Jews of the Ottoman Empire 309
Yaron Ayalon

Part V The Modern Period 325

19 How Jews Modernized: The Western Nations 327
Carsten Schapkow

20 The Zionist Movement and the Path to Statehood 343
Brian Amkraut

21 The Jews in the Land of the Russian Tsars 361
Jarrod Tanny

22 The Great Migration: 1881–1924 381
Jessica Cooperman

23 Polish Jewry between the World Wars 393
Sean Martin

24 Organized Movements of American Judaism: From 1880 to World War II 409
Michael R. Cohen

25 Paths of Modernity: Jewish Women in Central Europe 422
Kerry Wallach

26 Antisemitism and Anti-Jewish Hostility 441
Richard S. Levy

Part VI Jews and Judaism since the Holocaust and the Birth of Israel 459

27 The Existential Crisis of the Holocaust 461
Peter Haas

28 American Jews and the Jewish State 476
David Bamberger

29 Judaism(s) in Contemporary America 489
Dana Evan Kaplan

30 Traditional Judaism in the Twenty-First Century 514
Mark I. Dunaevsky

31 Contemporary American Jewish Culture 529
Ted Merwin

32 Israeli Culture from 1948 to the Present 548
Keren Rubinstein

33 The Israeli Economy 571
Paul Rivlin

34 Ethnic Diversity in Israel 586
Ari Ariel

Part VII Special Topics 601

35 The World of Jewish Music 603
Marsha Bryan Edelman

36 American Jewry’s Identification with Israel: Problems and Prospects 619
Laurence J. Silberstein

37 The Jewish Holy Days 643
Stanley Schachter

Index 661

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Author Information

Alan T. Levenson is Schusterman/Josey Professor of Jewish Intellectual and Religious History at the University of Oklahoma. His publications include Modern Jewish Thinkers: An Introduction (2006); Between Philosemitism and Antisemitism: German Defenses of Jews and Judaism (2004); The Story of Joseph: A Jewish Journey of Interpretation (2004); and The Making of the Modern Jewish Bible (2011).
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“Consequently, this book can serve as a useful addition for undergraduates collections on Judaism and Jewish history and as an introductory guide for advanced students.  Summing Up: Recommended.  All levels/libraries.”  (Choice, 1 December 2012)

"An excellent, comprehensive, and accessible overview of the major trends, tensions, and transformations in Jewish history. This volume, consisting of 37 readable essays by different authors, places Jews and Judaism clearly in the context of the world around them. This is a great starting point for undergraduates and adult students of Jewish history."
David Ariel, President of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies

Edited by an international authority in modern Jewish history and thought, Alan Levenson has assembled a collection of essays on Jews and Judaism from Ancient Israel to 2010. He chose a wonderful combination of veteran and emerging scholars. Their essays are written with clarity, intelligence, and the most recent research. Essay after essay is accessible yet scholarly. A fascinating and comprehensive collection.
Marc Lee Raphael, College of William and Mary

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